Mechanical Engineering Technician
Kaihangarau Take Pūkaha
Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices, including tools, engines, and machines.
Graduate mechanical engineer technicians usually earn
$40K-$45K per year
Mechanical engineering technicians with over four years' experience usually earn
$60K-$80K per year
Pay for mechanical engineering technicians depends on where they work, and how much experience they have. According to industry sources:
- Graduate mechanical engineering technicians can earn between $40,000 and $45,000 a year.
- Mechanical engineering technicians with four to six years' experience can expect to earn between $60,000 and $80,000.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Mechanical engineering technicians may do some or all of the following:
- oversee the assembly of machinery
- make recommendations on how to improve machinery
- calculate costs and the amount of equipment required to build machines
- give advice on installing equipment and machinery
- test and repair equipment and machines
- monitor equipment and machines to improve mechanical processes
- prepare drawings and develop machines according to requirements
- prepare contracts and contact suppliers
- plan and give advice on equipment and machinery maintenance work
- supervise and work with staff at power and manufacturing plants.
Skills and knowledge
Mechanical engineering technicians need to have:
- understanding of different machines and how they work
- knowledge of how to design, build and maintain machinery
- knowledge of welding processes
- knowledge of metals and their properties
- knowledge of maths and physics.
Mechanical engineering technicians also need to keep up to date with changes in technology, equipment and manufacturing methods.
Mechanical engineering technicians:
- usually work a regular 40-hour week, but some may do shift work.
- usually work in workshops, factories, power plants, offices and on building sites.
- may work in noisy and dirty conditions, and may have machinery that can be dangerous and needs to be handled with care.
- may travel between local sites or overseas on contract.
What's the job really like?
A career as an engineering technician
Angus Hawkins talks about what's its like to be an engineering technician - 2.13 mins.
Angus: I work at Wedderspoon Organic. We produce honey and my role is the processing and the filtration of that honey, and also the fixing and maintenance of the packing line, which is semi-automated.
So, I studied Mechanical Engineering because I really enjoyed taking things apart as a kid. All that sort of stuff. I like the building and understanding of how things work. My family’s always been around farming and outdoor stuff. But I’m kind of the first one to ever get into the engineering side of things and the building and making of stuff.
The world is going to head towards a lot of automation of manual labour. Any easy tasks will just be done automatically. So it’s the design and the control of that automation and the management of that automation; that’s where the time and effort will be. That and the creative kind of arts. So when it comes to engineering you’re working with machinery, you’re working with automation and design management of those machines and keeping those machines up and running.
We buy local honey. Some of it comes from up north but most of it’s from central Upper South Island. We buy it off local apiaries and we bring it into our warehouse. From there we melt it out because it’s all solidified. We melt it and tip it into our tip tank and run it through our filtration skid. From there we put it into our big tanks and we cream it so that it creates tiny crystals and then it makes a smooth honey and will stay that way for a long time so it’s got a really long shelf life. We pump it into jars and label it and pack it into pellets and then we ship it over to the States.
I think engineering gives you a curiosity about the world; wanting to understand how things work and from that curiosity it kind of inspires you to learn more.
To become a mechanical engineering technician you need to complete a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) (Mechanical). This qualification takes two years of full-time study to complete.
Once on the job, mechanical engineering technicians can work towards completing the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering Practice (NZDEP), which leads to certification as an engineering technician with Engineering New Zealand
To gain entry into the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Mechanical), it is recommended that you have a minimum of 48 NCEA credits at Level 2 in four subjects, including at least 12 credits in maths. Physics is also highly recommended, and technology subjects may be useful.
Mechanical engineering technicians need to be:
- practical and accurate, with an eye for detail
- able to make decisions quickly and work well under pressure
- good at problem-solving
- patient and confident
- motivated and disciplined
- able to work well independently and as part of a team.
- good with computers
- good at technical drawing
- well organised, with good communication and time management skills.
Useful experience for mechanical engineering technicians includes:
- work in an engineering workshop
- any work using hand tools or operating machinery
- welding and sheet metal work.
Some work situations may require mechanical engineering technicians to be agile and to work at heights.
Mechanical engineering technicians can register as chartered members with Engineering New Zealand.
Find out more about training
- Engineering New Zealand
- (04) 473 9444 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.engineeringnz.org
- Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA)
- (09) 262 2885 - email@example.com - www.hera.org.nz
- Institute of Refrigeration, Heating & Air Conditioning Engineers (IRHACE)
- (09) 262 1405 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.irhace.org.nz/
What are the chances of getting a job?
Opportunities for mechanical engineering technicians are good due to a shortage of workers, and high demand for their services, especially in the south island of New Zealand.
The role of mechanical engineering technician appears on Immigration New Zealand's regional (south island) skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled mechanical engineering technicians from overseas to work in New Zealand.
According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of people in the role has increased slightly in recent years, and is expected to grow by 2.3% until 2023.
According to the Census, 1821 mechanical engineering technicians worked in New Zealand in 2018.
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Regional Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook - Engineering Technicians’, accessed February 2020, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2020.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Experienced mechanical engineering technicians can move into supervisory roles.
They may specialise in a number of different areas that involve mechanical processes and technology. These include:
- heating and ventilation
- manufacturing (including dairy, meat and textiles)
- heavy manufacturing
- power generation and roading.
Last updated 21 April 2020